The Arts and Culture Enrichment Series (ACES) is bringing award-winning playwright and performer, Rohina Malik, and her play “Unveiled: A One Woman Play,” to Walker Auditorium tonight at 7 p.m. Malik was inspired to write a play that combats stereotypes and the negative images of Muslims in the media.
“I was frustrated that we were being defined by extremists,” Malik said. She doesn’t want to be defined by groups like ISIS. She notes the importance in understanding that negative stereotyping and use of degrading language can result in hate crimes, including murder.
“I could challenge stereotypes,” Malik said about the thought process behind tackling this societal issue when she wrote the play in 2008. “I could challenge degrading language.”
One aspect of attempting to change people’s mindsets is to show that the three popular monotheistic faiths-being Christianity, Judaism and Islam-aren’t that different. All three share stories such as Adam and Eve, Moses, Isaac, Jacob and even Satan. “We are more similar than different,” Malik said.
Malik even combats the judgement of Muslim women choosing to cover their hair. “Hair covering is part of many religious traditions,” Malik said, citing examples of the Jewish yarmulke and Christian habits.
Two weeks ago, she was selected to receive the 2018 Lee Reynolds Award, awarded to women promoting social, cultural or political change through theatre.
The play features five Muslim women from different parts of the world, serving tea, and all developed and portrayed by Malik. “I wanted to show diversity of my community,” Malik said, further elaborating that “You can’t put Muslims into one box.”
ACES thought the play would be a good educational opportunity for the SNHU community, according to Colleen Lubin, the associate director of the Office of Student Involvement.
Debbie Donnelly, assistant director of the International Student Services and Kayla Page, the director of the Office of Diversity Programs first saw “Unveiled” at a theatre in Manchester. “When they saw it, they thought it would be great to offer on campus for our community and brought the information to the [ACES] committee,” Lubin said.
The reactions to her play have been “overwhelming.” “Most of the time audience’s reactions to the play is really wonderful,” Malik said. She recognizes that some people don’t want to have their minds changed, but she finds that many people are moved by the play and are ready to have a conversation.
The play is just under an hour in length, followed by a 15-20-minute discussion. Her book will also be available to purchase for $20 following the play.
Anyone interested in attending this play can reserve their spot for free on SNHUTickets now. As long as the show doesn’t “sell” out, people can also get their ticket at the door.
“I think they’re going to laugh,” Malik said about what the audience should expect. “I hope they’re going to be moved and maybe think a little differently about a community they may not know too much about.”